Earlier today some user deleted their profile and caused a lot of confusion because that user was an active voter, and that the reversal of their votes due to the removal of their accounts caused huge reputation losses for many users across many sites. (One user lost 900+ reputation points on a single site, as a result.)

People have figured out that the deleted user didn't have high reputations on those sites, and thus didn't fall into the "vote retention" class when their account was removed.

Sometimes, but not all that often, an active voter isn't an active Q/A participant, and as a consequence doesn't necessarily have a lot of reputation.

And because the intention to retain votes from deleted users who had a lot of votes was to "prevent major disruption", and that the original criterion "high reputation" was chosen based on the assertion that "high rep users tends to have a lot of votes", it seems that the actual reason is "a lot of votes". So here comes

Feature request 1:

I would like to propose that the vote retention criterion be changed to retain votes (unless evidence at any point of vote fraud from the voter, or unless the voter has had all accounts across the SE network deleted by SE staff), from users who have a lot of votes, rather than from user who have only high reputation, so as not to create an unnecessary cloud of confusion and frustration among the users who've been voted by them.

Feature request 2:

Can we reverse the reputation change discussed in this thread (same thread as linked in the 1st paragraph)?

  • 6
    I always thought the criteria was votes and the level of disruption it would cause. May 25, 2019 at 5:12
  • 4
    The idea that rep is the main criterion by which the system decides to field deletion requests for manual review can be traced back to this edit. Note that this appears to be speculation because the sources they link only say "highly active", and the edit summary implies so. This...never got changed, and was subsequently copied into help pages as is. I've later edited another FAQ to explain that it was in fact votes based on Shog's answer here, but forgot to change this one; thanks for doing so. May 25, 2019 at 5:27
  • I don't understand why you request an exception in the link you provide in your "Feature request 2"? Why, with the deletion of the accounts of this specific user, in this specific case, should the rep gained due to their votes not be removed?
    – amWhy
    May 25, 2019 at 12:42
  • @Namaste The reputation change is the loss due to the removal of that user (both gains and losses are changes). May 25, 2019 at 13:05
  • I know that, @MetaBugWizard. That doesn't answer my question.
    – amWhy
    May 25, 2019 at 13:07
  • @Namaste The massive rep loss has taken place already. To retain those votes and reputations, the loss has to be reversed. May 25, 2019 at 13:08
  • When a user is removed, after some voting history, yet their votes are determined not "valid", why do you think any loss incurred to the rep of former users who benefited from those votes "has to be reversed"?
    – amWhy
    May 25, 2019 at 13:11
  • You also have failed to address the informative answers and comments given at the the question you link to in your own question. Please read those answers now.
    – amWhy
    May 25, 2019 at 14:26
  • 4
  • 2
    Possible duplicate of Don't throw away all votes when a user is deleted May 25, 2019 at 18:38

4 Answers 4


@amimuson said in his answer:

"High reputation" is a generic way to explain what happens that isn't super confusing. A help center article isn't meant to go into all the explicit details, but rather just highlight the generic functionalities. Users get held up based on their number of votes and/or the number of people they've voted for. Reputation is not actually considered at all in the check. (Emphasis Added.)

This does not make sense. Obviously, the Learn More explanation following User Was Removed has created a lot of confusion among many users, most of whom are experienced users on at least one site, and not easily confused. Moreover the Learn More explanation is obviously incorrect, not merely simplified for the easily confused. As its last paragraph states:

This removal occurs whenever a user is deleted, unless that user had a very high reputation score. Because high-reputation users have usually cast a great many votes, removing all of them could be that much more disruptive to other users. In such cases, the staff use a special deletion that preserves the votes, resulting in no reputation change for those who had been voted on by that user. (Emphasis Added.)

I suggest the following edit:

This removal occurs whenever a user is deleted, unless that user had been very active. In such cases, the staff use a special deletion that preserves the votes, resulting in no reputation change for those who had been voted on by that user. There are circumstances, however, when the removal may occur even for deletions of very active users. Go to [link] for a more complete explanation. (Proposed edit emphasized.)

The proposed edit is now a second draft, and could undoubtedly be improved. So, improve it. Or throw it out and rewrite it. Don't leave misleading info in a prominent place. If there is an explanation which is correct, give the link to it. Please!

Second Suggestion

The Powers that Be on SE must have known that the recent action resulting in massive removal of rep points across the universe of SE would create a major kerfuffle. Why not post a short, simple notice on all the Metas of the sites affected saying, in essence:

We have taken an action that has resulted in the removal of many reputation points for many users on many sites. Rest assured that we were obliged to take this action, and that it was thoroughly discussed and reviewed. We are sorry, but it is impossible to reverse any of the reputation losses.

Again, this is a first draft which can, and probably should, be edited.

Bottom line: Don't treat us like mushrooms!

  • @Nicol Bolas Look at my second draft. The third draft is up to you or someone else. The earlier Q&A didn't accomplish much, so let's try again.
    – user540056
    May 26, 2019 at 3:25
  • 3
    "The earlier Q&A didn't accomplish much" It's been 9 hours... on Saturday. I wouldn't expect an instantaneous response even on a weekday, let alone on the weekend. So on what basis do you conclude that it "didn't accomplish much"? And considering that Animuson's suggestion is superior to your second draft, I don't see what the problem is. May 26, 2019 at 4:00

Regarding request 1:

That's already how it works. "High reputation" is a generic way to explain what happens that isn't super confusing. A help center article isn't meant to go into all the explicit details, but rather just highlight the generic functionalities. Users get held up based on their number of votes and/or the number of people they've voted for. Reputation is not actually considered at all in the check.

Regarding request 2:

No, we cannot do that.

  • 22
    The help center very specifically states "has a very high reputation score". This causes users to get confused as to whether it's reputation or the number of votes that results in votes potentially being preserved; I often see users asking the question "what about lower-rep users who've cast a lot of votes?". I really don't see why editing the help center with the edited version of the answer that it was originally copied from will make it more complicated; in fact, the edit makes it shorter. May 25, 2019 at 5:40
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    That's not very transparent... I just lost 1790 points, which strikes me as above the threshold. May 25, 2019 at 16:05
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    Plus, a user on meta.stackoverflow.com (Robert Columbia?) just accused me of fraudulence. Is that how you treat your high-ranking users? May 25, 2019 at 16:08
  • 9
    It appears like the removal of this vote-ful user has already caused major disruption, which makes them fall into both criteria perfectly. May 25, 2019 at 16:16
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    @MetaBugWizard I don't know what your point is? Those criteria are simply what causes it to be held up for review. It's not a guarantee that votes will actually be preserved.
    – animuson StaffMod
    May 25, 2019 at 16:24
  • meta.stackoverflow.com/posts/comments/699409?noredirect=1: "@YuvalFilmus is it also unreasonable if those votes were cast as part of a fraudulent action?" (Unfortunately I no longer have access to my original comment, which stated roughly that it was unreasonable to deduct so many points.) May 25, 2019 at 16:25
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    @YuvalFilmus No one claimed you, specifically were engaged in fraud. The user was merely pointing out that it's not unreasonable for votes to be invalidated if a user was engaged in fraud. Regular users don't know the circumstances of the deletion or what votes a user has cast in the past.
    – animuson StaffMod
    May 25, 2019 at 16:30
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    That's what I meant by "not transparent". I have no idea even who this user was. May 25, 2019 at 16:31
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    @YuvalFilmus And you can't. That sucks, yeah. But privacy is more important and there is no further detail we can give users other than how much reputation they lost because of it.
    – animuson StaffMod
    May 25, 2019 at 16:32
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    Can you assure that the regular review process has taken place for this user? May 25, 2019 at 17:14
  • 2
    @MetaBugWizard: Animuson already said in the other thread that the review process took place. May 25, 2019 at 18:32
  • 2
    @YuvalFilmus I made that comment and I'm sorry that came across if I was accusing you of being fraudulent which I didn't intent nor do I have any evidence for that claim. I meant that other accounts that have been doing voting irregularities get deleted all the time and those accounts shouldn't have voted on any posts, nor yours nor mine. I assume we all have been surprised by this case where so many votes weren't preserved network-wide despite the manual review. You don't have to like it but it is as it is. We're all on the receiving end. :shrug: Again sorry, I'll be more careful next time
    – rene
    May 26, 2019 at 11:14

I generally support the idea but at the same time I think we don't actually need it.

StackExchange should just take more seriously the fact, that our votes are frozen a couple of minutes after casting a vote... well, until a Q/A is edited.

I find the same should apply to user removal. They've casted their votes so they are frozen forever. Their Q/A won't get deleted so why are their votes treated differently?

It looks like we need more consistency about how contributions of removed accounts are treated. Currently their voting is undone but their posts not. This behavior is what triggers all these confusion.

Either everything should be deleted/undone or nothing.


Won't Fix

At any point in time, a "user" responsible for having cast upvotes can be "deleted". The votes are private and you don't have access to the names. That's all .


On a serious note, if you want to see this feature implemented, you'd better find a new way for them to zap a user's reputation.

  • 5
    "At any point in time a "user" responsible for having casted upvotes can be "deleted"." Untrue. With the exception of spam accounts or the like, account deletion only happens by request of the user. May 25, 2019 at 16:46
  • Sure yeah, the user that may or may not exist may or may not have requested it. youtu.be/ioPa1URjZ_Y?t=37 May 25, 2019 at 16:51
  • 11
    FYI: I went through the Rick-rolling fad of about 10 years ago, so as a matter of course, I don't click random, unexplained links to YouTube videos. If you have something that needs to be said, say it in the text. Or at the very least, give a summary of what's at the end of the link. May 25, 2019 at 16:53
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    Considering that you have no evidence of anything fraudulent going on here, your claims that the user "may not exist" or "may not have requested it" are wholly without merit. If they wanted to punish a user, they'd just perma-ban them. May 25, 2019 at 16:55
  • @NicolBolas they don't want me to run in an election but I'm not "banned" from it. You just have to wait 1 year after you've been suspended on ANY site in the network. And if you're accounts aren't linked that's fine -- you can run. But if they are linked you're SOL. That rule was explicitly created for me. May 25, 2019 at 17:01
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    Ignoring the veracity of what you said, what does any of that have to do with anything presently under discussion? That isn't evidence that the SE owners are just removing rep arbitrarily from people, or just deleting users whenever they feel like. Indeed, if what you say is true, then it's evidence against that. Because if they just randomly delete users, why haven't they deleted your account? ;) I mean, it'd certainly be a lot easier than erecting whole new rules just to stop you from running in moderator elections. May 25, 2019 at 17:23
  • Presumably because then my army of fans would rise up like a group of a revolutionary Marxist Spartans and smash the state. Either that or because I'm like the most valuable contributor on this network. Seriously #1 for 2017. I'm the grease that keeps the machine moving. My contributions keep the lights on. May 25, 2019 at 17:34
  • Even my negative questions and answers (they're VERY few) ... they still win. I wonder how much ad revenue they got on this answer alone. 133 people have came here. It's probably safe to assume 75% of them for this answer. That's like 100. Let's say that 10 of them clicked the popup to Install RAM Over the Internet Now!! and got the Chinese adware payload, SE probably made at least a couple bucks. May 25, 2019 at 17:39
  • 3
    "SE probably made at least a couple bucks" I fail to see how. Or more specifically, I fail to see how your post in any way contributed to that. Or even more specifically, your post would be no more of an attraction to click on adds than a random assemblage of letters posted by someone else. May 25, 2019 at 18:16

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